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Science vs. Religion

Steve Fuller

ISBN: 978-0-745-64122-5 October 2007 Polity 192 Pages


For centuries, science and religion have been portrayed as diametrically opposed. In this provocative new book, Steve Fuller examines the apparent clash between science and religion by focusing on the heated debates about evolution and intelligent design theory. In so doing, he claims that science vs. religion is in fact a false dichotomy. For Fuller, supposedly intellectual disputes, such as those between creationist and evolutionist accounts of life, often disguise other institutionally driven conflicts, such as the struggle between State and Church to be the source of legitimate authority in society.

Nowadays many conservative anti-science groups support intelligent design theory, but Fuller argues that the theory's theological roots are much more radical, based on the idea that humans were created to fathom the divine plan, perhaps even complete it. He goes on to examine the unique political circumstances in the United States that make the emergence of intelligent design theory so controversial, yet so persistent. Finally, he considers the long-term prognosis, arguing that the future remains very much undecided as society reopens the question of what it means to be human.

This book will appeal to all readers intrigued by the debates about creationism, intelligent design and evolution, especially those looking for an intellectually exciting confrontation with the politics and promise of intelligent design theory.

Introduction 1

1 Historical Bases for the Problem 11

2 Ideological Dimensions of the Problem 44

3 Complexity as a Conceptual Battleground 69

4 America as a Legal Battleground 90

5 Life after Darwinism 126

Conclusion: The Larger Lessons 159

Bibliography 165

Index 178

"A balanced, detailed and well-presented introduction to all aspects of the argument."

Father John-Paul Sheridan, Sunday Business Post

"An engaging book. It will provide fuel for Fuller’s critics who have accused him of 'pomo science' (postmodern science); energize ID theorists in their efforts to 'widen the wedge'; and serve food for thought for those still sitting 'on the fence' between ID and mainstream science. These are marks of a good book."

Science in Christian Perspective

“Steve Fuller’s book is a philosophic and historical tour de force. I know no other book that provides such a balanced, timely, in-depth, account of the historical and philosophic origins and affiliations of contemporary Intelligent Design (ID) and Darwinism. Each chapter is informative, sharply analytic, provocative, probing, witty and superbly written. The historical roots of modern science in ID thinking that Fuller traces will be a much-needed eye-opener to many and a wholesome antidote to the historical amnesia that characterizes most contemporary discussion of the scientific status of ID and of Darwinian theory.”

John Angus Campbell, Memphis State University

“Whether you are outraged by ‘Intelligent Design’ theory or annoyed by the attacks on it, Fuller’s book is an indispensable guide to the controversy. He manages to not only supply the intellectual context, showing how much of this debate is traditional and how much is new, but makes clear what is reasonable on both sides, and why the debate matters so much to us.”

William Keith, University of Wisconsin

● Provocative engagement with the recurrent debates about intelligent design theory
● Written from an intellectual (rather than religious) standpoint
● Author is a controversial figure, and a participant in these debates
● Likely to appeal to scholars in a wide range of disciplines, spanning science, religion and the social sciences